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Journal Snipits

A preview from Volume 17.2

B News – Ancient Lands of Sand

Volume 17.2

Being curious and seeking knowledge about our wild heritage is something that was instilled in me very early on. Back when I was too young to see over a counter, I remember walking into the old Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery and looking up to the counter and seeing a spinner of photos for sale. The spinner had 35mm dupe sets of various locations and as I spun it, I looked and saw pretty clouds, big mountains and granite canyons twirling by. As I kept spinning it, it became a game until it got spinning a little too fast. Just prior to it flying off the counter, my father stopped it and gave me that look (I got that look a lot!). The spinner had stopped and the strip of slides now in front of the light were all red, glowed and you could see the sun through holes in the rock. I asked my dad, “Where’s that?” He said, “That’s Arches” and he pointed towards the northeast and continued, “It’s a real pretty place we should visit someday. It’s a real ancient land of sand.” “Why is that sand so red? How can sand make those tunnels?” I have no doubt my dad answered the questions I shot at him but I don’t remember them. I just remember the impression those slides with the red landscape made on my imagination.

The west is a vast romantic landscape where one can get lost in a single, small corner of it and be forever happy with that discovery. And while that land of red was always in the back of my mind, it wouldn’t be for another forty years that I would travel to Arches for myself for the first time. I’ve been back every year since exploring its mysteries and romance, working to bring back that sense in my photos that first touched my imagination. Arches, Canyonlands Nat’l Park and Dead Horse State Park are the best known locales but they are not the only one where the red rock calls our cameras.

And with all our years of exploring this region, we’ve found so much but know we have not seen all it has to offer. This is in part because it is so large, so grand, so amazing! It is also in part that there are small corners that have become our favorite locales that we just keep visiting over and over again. It’s this and so much more I want to share with you in this issue of the BTJ. Come along then as we put on our boots, gloves, grab water, and a camera and explore this magnificent part of our wild heritage!

Best start at the beginning